BROOKLYN, Ohio – Originally slated to start in 2020, Brooklyn’s new Safety Town program recently completed its first year with more than 50 children participating in four different summer sessions.
âObviously the pandemic kind of put our stimulus plans on hold for 2020, so we started this year,â said Dan Meadows, school resources manager for the Brooklyn Police Department, who created and taught the program. of Safety Town with volunteer college and high school students.
âThe parents were excited and happy, while the kids really enjoyed the different components. They were able to ride on the big wheels of the permanent village of Safety Town. We also visited the fire station and the police station. They were also able to take a school bus ride to the school. “
Primarily using funds from the Recreation Department’s budget, the $ 50,000 Safety Town – which is a collaboration between the city, police, firefighters, Brooklyn City schools, and community volunteer groups – was built on two former tennis courts at the Veterans Memorial Park.
Safety Town includes six buildings, a working traffic light, and painted black siding to mimic city roads and parking lots. The city also bought 15 big wheels.
âThe students were divided into groups,â Meadows said. âWe only limited 10 students at a time around the safety village, otherwise the students would have learned about traffic jams as well. “
During its inaugural run, registration was limited to Brooklyn residents or students enrolled at St. Thomas More School and students at Heritage Christian School.
Due to the fact that the program was supposed to start last year but was canceled due to COVID, first graders were accepted this year. Going forward, Meadows said Safety Town will target children entering kindergarten.
In addition to opening Safety Town to children from surrounding communities, with a view to next year, Meadows said he hopes to add a few more buildings.
Brooklyn Police Chief Scott Mielke said Safety Town was important for a number of reasons.
âSafety Town is a great way to get kids in the summer before kindergarten to participate in school activities while having fun,â Mielke said. âIt introduces children to safety rules not only at school, but also on foot, by bicycle and the safety of strangers.
âIt is also important for us as a police service to make a positive first impression on the children in our community and to let them know that we are their friends and that we can help them when they need it. This is a long term commitment. We want this program to grow.
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